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Charleston Military Reunions was born out of a passion for sharing history with others. As residents of the "Holy City", we want to show everyone what a great place Charleston really is. Join us for an exciting exprerience that will keep you talking about Charleston for years to come! Charleston Military Reunions is a subsidiary of All About Charleston Tours. As the interest in military reunions has increased in Charleston, we wanted an aspect of the company that focused just on this type of activity. Our employees/guides are licensed and super-knowledgable and will give you the best possible Charleston experience!
About The Owner
Jeff is the vision behind this totally new endeavor. His vision to provide a quality and personal tour experience in Charleston has become... All About Charleston. In addition to providing top-quality tour opportunities, Charleston Military Reunions incorporates a keen sense of what veterans want in a reunion. It is this vision that motivates Jeff every day. He has a special place in his heart for veterans and gives special attention to all military reunion attendees!
As a young boy growing up in West Virginia, Jeff became interested in tales of WWII from his father and the Civil War from his grandmother. He was especially intrigued by stories of his father's ship, the USS Hobson. His father had told him that the USS Hobson was built in the Charleston Navy Yard and sank in the Atlantic in 1952 among other stories. His grandmother related stories of his family during the 1860s. The Caplinger family ran a Confederate hospital during the Civil War and Jeff is the proud owner of several Civil War relics handed down through his family over five generations. Add stories of pirates, ghosts etc. and history seems to come alive. In college, Jeff combined his love of the past and jazz music, majoring in history and music. Years later, Lisa suggested that they move the family to the Charleston, SC area. Since this was the cradle of the Confederacy and the home of the USS Hobson memorial, Jeff felt that his world was coming full circle and enthusiastically told his wife... YES! As a lasting tribute, Jeff has donated all of his father's US Navy belongings to the American Military History Museum at the Citadel Mall.
Jeff has worked with groups/group tours for more than 25 years and has been a professional tour guide since 2004. Not only is he an experienced guide in Charleston, Jeff is an expert guide for New York City, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. In addition, Jeff is a professional musician, a living historian and a Low-country educator. Since moving to Charleston with wife Lisa and kids, Jeff has immersed himself in Charleston history and is also a highly qualified and licensed Charleston tour guide. In addition to being a local licensed guide, Jeff has worked extensively as a Charleston carriage tour guide!
About Our Inspiration
Fred L. Caplinger SK1c
Fred was born in Elkins, West Virginia in 1919. He was working for an auto parts dealer when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Along with his two brothers (Hugh and Marvin), he enlisted telling his brothers that they were foolish for joining the Army because "they were going to get their butts shot off". Fred was going to join the Navy and just ride the waves.
He was assigned to the USS Hobson (DD-464 - built in Charleston, SC). As a member of the Hobson crew, Fred participated in the invasion of North Africa and spent several months hunting U-boats in the Atlantic. In mid-1944, Fred received a 10-day pass. He went home to West Virginia and upon returning to Norfolk found that the Navy was looking for him. He was AWOL! He was supposed to have a 3-day pass and the Hobson had sailed to Normandy without him. Once this snafu was straightened out, Fred was assigned to the brand new USS Mississinewa (A0-59). The Mississinewa set sail for the Pacific and joined Admiral Bull Halsey's 3rd Fleet. Anchored at berth 131 in the lagoon of Ulithi atoll, the Mississinewa was hit by a kamikaze (kaiten) torpedo on November 20, 1944. This was the first and only US ship to be sunk by a kaiten torpedo. Fred had been the chief storekeeper on the Mississinewa. Following the attack, he made sure that all of the survisors of the sinking got paid. As the payroll logs were at the bottom of the lagoon, Fred completed a duplicate pay log... from memory. He was then transferred to San Diego and completed his military service there. Of his two brothers, Hugh worked as a supply Sergeant and never saw combat. Marvin was sent to guard the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) from Japanese attack. Fred, however, saw combat in both theaters of war and had his ship blown out from underneath him. So... who got their butt shot off? Sadly, Fred Caplinger passed away in February of 2014, just 3 weeks shy of his 95th birthday. He was fortunate to have attended 1 reunion for each ship before his passing. Fred will always be remembered by his family as the Caplinger patriarch and hero. Jeff's dad was truly a part of "The Greatest Generation"!
As for the Hobson, she was accidently cut in half by the aircraft carrier USS Wasp in 1952 approximately 600 miles east of Charleston. She is memorialized locally in White Point Garden. The Mississinewa was found in 2001 and is now an underwater memorial.
USS Hobson off Charleston (1942)
USS Mississinewa in the Pacific (1944)
USS Mississinewa goes down (Ulithi Atoll - 1944)
USS Mississinewa today (Ulithi Atoll - 2001)
Jeff and Fred Caplinger at the USS Hobson Memorial (White Point Garden) in 2012